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Does your website have a lot of content? If not, I can already tell you—and content marketing guru Marcus Sheridan would agree—you probably have been selling the wrong way. Actually, you definitely have been selling the wrong way.
“Content is the greatest sales and trust-building tool in the world.” This was a quote Marcus used in his recent speech at an IES&BD event I attended (my co-worker Lexie, who went with me, wrote a great recap blog post about it), and I couldn’t agree more.
So, why is content the greatest tool to use for marketing?
The answer is actually really simple—because consumers are always asking questions. Every single day, prospective clients (read: sales opportunities) are asking questions about the products/services your business offers! “So what should I do about this?” you may be asking.
Keep reading! But first, get a free analysis:
Be Transparent with Your Website Content
That’s right, don’t try to fool anyone. Be clear and straightforward about your business to consumers who are searching for your services and products. Answer all of their questions, even if they are asking about the price of a product you sell and you’re hesitant to put that information on your website because it may drive them away—or worse, your competitors may see.
Well, just forget about the competition right now because do they pay your bills? No, your customers do. Marcus went even further and made some strong points about why you should be as transparent as possible:
- You can’t ignore consumers’ needs—if you don’t answer their questions, you’re essentially inviting them to go somewhere else (to your competitors’ websites)
- It is the consumer’s right to get answers/solutions they need
- People like honesty, and with the right content and straightforward answers, you can build prospective clients’ trust
- Your competitors can’t “steal your secrets”—remember, nobody can replicate your exact processes and offer the exact same services the exact same way; nobody is you.
- You can more easily weed out “bad fits”
Let me go into that last point about “bad fits” a little more. Have you heard of “assignment selling”?
Many companies out there have jumped on the content marketing bandwagon and have tons of content on their website. And this is great for consumers who really want information and are seeking it out, but there are some consumers who hardly read the content and are just in it for the price. These people may not be the best fit for your company.
By being transparent on your website—and saying who you aren’t for—you can quickly distinguish who will probably not buy your products/services. This can lead to more successful sales meetings and faster growth, more money, better reputation, etc. for your company!
The big question you have to ask yourself is “Are the prospective clients willing to become educated?” If they aren’t, you’re wasting your time trying to convert them when the chances of that happening are probably low. It helps to think of yourself first as a teacher and second as a marketer, business owner, kitchen designer, or whatever (fill in the blank). More informed consumers are more likely to buy what you’re selling!
Here is a pretty great summary of Marcus’ story and using the right content to sell the right way:
What You Should Do
Marcus mentioned an article about his story in the New York Times and how the title is almost laughable: A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answering Customers’ Questions.
That is pretty funny when you think about it, right? Isn’t it obvious you should be answering consumers’ questions?! But many companies don’t. Answering questions are revolutionary, to quote Marcus, “not in principle but in practice.” So be a company who actually does answer the questions!
Now, I’m not saying you need to parade around how exactly how much your services cost on your website. There are tactful ways to do so. Marcus mentioned two great ways to answer “how much does (service/product) cost?” Giving a range and also “it depends.” Take a look at this example of a good answer to “how much will a kitchen remodel cost?”
In addition to blog posts and FAQ pages, comparison/versus pages are great ways to create “transparent” content. See what people are searching for—using Google Analytics and Google Suggest—and write a page about it.
To answer the question above, a wood window company could write a page called “Vinyl Windows vs. Wood Windows.” On it, they would write the pros and cons of both, letting the consumer decide which is the best option—something like “If low maintenance is your top priority, wood windows may not be for you. But if you want a window with natural beauty and high energy-efficiency, wood windows are a great option.” Avoid hard selling your product. Instead, let the consumer choose and they will be more likely to trust and respect you.
Now, I know what you may be thinking—“Marcus got into the game a lot earlier, when content marketing was way different. It’s so competitive today and everyone answers questions! How am I supposed to rank?” Lexie said it well in her recap blog post about the event: “I always recommend doing a quick Google search of your blog post title before publishing it. If someone else has already written a blog post with the exact same title, rephrase the question (or call us and we’ll help YOU become the authority). You’re more likely to rank, and therefore more likely to increase your Web traffic and leads.” Ask the question differently—and answer it BETTER!
No more thinking of yourself as a b2b or b2c company. Instead, think of it as p2p—person to person (this was one of my favorite things Marcus said). At the end of the day, people just want the absolute best product/service out there and by being honest and informing them well, you’re helping them reach their goal. And this makes you worthy of their time without wasting your valuable time!
If you’re looking for analytics services, internet marketing services, or website services, we’d love to talk to you about what you need and how we can help you reach your goals. Contact us today to get in touch with our experts.
About The Author: Alanna is the Quality Assurance Manager in Blue Corona's Maryland office. When she's not triple-checking websites and content for errors and consistency, you can find her at the gym with her twin sister or urban exploring with her husband.
View more blogs by Alanna Hernandez